By Nilesh Patel
- Zurich hosts the penultimate meeting of the Diamond League
- Laura Muir becomes third British women to win a Diamond League title
- Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson wins 200m race, with Dina Asha Smith in fourth
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – The Athletics season is drawing to a close as Zurich host the 13th Diamond League meeting of the year
Thanks to a second place finish in the women’s 1500m race, Laura Muir was able to claim the Diamond League title in the final meeting of her race.
The field was well paced for Muir in the first 800m, but she was soon passed by Olympic champion – Faith Kipyegon. The Kenyan held the lead into the final lap, but couldn’t manage to shake off her British rival. With the American duo of Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury close behind them, they began to close on Kipyegon in the final bend.
While Rowbury finished fast to nick the first spot, Muir dug in to finish second place. Although it wasn’t the quickest time, it was enough for the Scot to win the Diamond Race. Muir’s British counterpart Laura Weightman also featured in the race finishing tenth.
Muir’s title has earned her a prize of £30,000, which will help her veterinary medicine studies.
In the women’s 800m there was talk of a potential world record run from Olympic champion Caster Semenya. The South African achieved all her targets of 2016, dominating the season and winning gold in Rio.
Semenya won yesterday’s event with a time of 1:56.44, which was just off world record time but was a comfortable run for her to claim the Diamond League title. Lynsey Sharp finished the race in eleventh but is still ranked a respectable fourth overall in the Diamond Race.
The women’s 200m was packed with big names, the likes of: Elaine Thompson, Dafne Schippers, Allyson Felix and Veronica Campbell-Brown would all provide difficult competition to Dina Asha-Smith, who was part of Team GB’s 4×100 bronze triumph in Rio.
The Brit finished the race in fourth, just 0.5s from Elaine Thompson in first. In what was an eagerly anticipated race, Schippers held her form down the home straight but was closed down right on the line by the Jamaican Olympic champion; there was just 0.01s between the two in the photo finish.
Felix, who didn’t make the US team for the 200m for Rio, clocked a season’s best of 22.02s to claim third place just ahead of Asha-Smith.
There was success for Thompson’s Jamaican counterpart Asafa Powell in the men’s 100m as he won his event in 9.94s. The time was enough for the former world record holder to move from fourth to first in the overall standings of the Diamond League. Adam Gemili also featured in the race, running a seasons best of 10.11s to finish fifth.
LaShawn Merritt missed out on gold in the men’s 400m at Rio but is certain to finish top of this season’s Diamond Race. He dominated the league finishing way ahead of competition in first. In the same event, Team GB’s Matthew Hudson-Smith and Martyn Rooney were unable to redeem themselves from a disappointing Olympic performance as their times leave them in eighth and six position overall.
There was progress for Briton Cindy Ofili who finished second in the women’s 100m hurdles, just behind USA’s Kendra Harrison, who claims the Diamond League title. Ofili finished fourth overall in the Diamond League, which shows great promise for her future.
The final stage of the Diamond League will take place next Friday in Brussels, Belgium, 10 September.
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